I’ve been a CLUTCH fan for years now and they always suprise me with something different and great. Thier depth as musicians enables them to constantly tweak their style and produce excellent albums, this is no exception. I’ve had a promo copy of the album for two months now and I assure ou there are no filler tracks or anything worth missing. Buy this album as well as anything else Clutch!
From Beale Street to Oblivion lacks the fire and passion heard on 2005’s excessively excellent Robot Hive/Exodus. It’s not that the Maryland-based band has betrayed the sound that made it famous or that it has suddenly become incapable of writing a memorable riff of having a go at a good ol’ rock ’n’ blues stomp. Rather, it’s that not much of anything awe-inspiring happens in the course of these 12 tunes. Listeners have to wait until the record’s third track (”The Devil & Me”) before the rockin’ really sticks and from that point forward wade through several successive almost-great moments, feeling the stinging darts of disappointment as the album moves toward the dark and narrow sidewalks of Beale Street’s end. Some of the tracks––namely ”Electric Worry” and ”Rapture of Riddley Walker” are impossibly pleasing but taken as a whole, this serves as a bummer set from one of the most promising and consistently imaginative acts. Certainly not a bad record for most bands but one that falls below the high expectations held for Clutch. ––Jedd Beaudoin
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My Lord, I haven’t even taken Robot Hive/Exodus off of heavy rotation, and the mighty Clutch drops another payload on me! What can you say about these guys? You feel a little odd critiquing a band that is clearly so much better than you. Clutch is genius. Clutch is sublime. Clutch is a heavy metal hedonist’s wet dream. They are pure rock fury, and if you resist, you’re only wasting your time. Clutch will prevail, my friend, they will prevail. You can’t stop the progress.
If you want to hear the definition of tight, this is the album. Road hardened as all Hell, Clutch has managed to produce the most amazing neo-blues album ever. This is the most dirty album I have heard in a while, and it’s refreshing. Most of the tracks on here sound as if they should have been written by blues greats like “Howlin’” Wolf, Tennessee Williams, and Muddy Waters. Instead, Neil Fallon shows his lyrical love of the blues by paying homage through his own words. On “You Can’t Stop Progress” he lets us know that “I understand there are no victimless crimes, that being said, I feel rather victimized”. On “Electric Worry” the catchy hook “Bang Bang Bang Bang…Vamanoose Vamanoose” reminded me of when they played this live, six months before the release of this album. Now I look back and feel as if I was a small part of rock history as they honed this tune live. There are so many other examples that I could site, but I don’t want to leave the rest of the band out.
Though I was initally disappointed that there was no jam session for the last track, I now understand that this album was meant to highlight the entire band. Tim Sult,on lead guitar, manages to impress by the notes he doesn’t play. This is the sign of a truly mature musician. When he does pull out a solo, they’re at times minimalistic, which speaks to his character. I have to say, that despite how much I love the sound of his guitar on such greats as “Tim Sult vs. The Greys”, “(Notes From the Trial of) La Curandera” and “Swampt Boot Upside Down”. That does not mean that Sult lacks in any area. The tightness of the turnaround blues of “Child of the City” is reminiscent of “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin. Also, whichever band mate is playing the slide guitar on “Black Umbrella” reminds us of the classic blues riffs of days long past.
If you are a bass player, listen to this album. Again, Dan Maines is tight and proves that he’s worthy to be called a “Master of the Electric Bass”. Maines does an amazing job from the turnaround blues on “Child of the City” to driving the bass of “Mr. Shiny Caddylackness”. This is a complete album that will challenge you, and let you learn the basics of blues.
The drums by, Jean-Paul Master, and organs by Mick Schauer play a laid back role on this album. Master has shown his greatness on songs such as “Droid” (all future drummers out there, listen to this song so you know why you should learn your rudiments), but takes on the classic role of drummer in this venture. This is not to say he is not impressive. Master drives the songs with a unrelenting yet semi-subdued force, again, a testament to the bands musical maturity. Schauer also does an excellent job adding color to the music. In Clutch’s prevous venture “Robot Hive/Exodus”, Schauer’s first album with the band, he was showcased on many songs to show that he was a worthy addition to the band. And on this album, he proves it again by accenting and giving a warm undertone to the simple genious of the songs.
In all, this album is a definite pick up. There is not a bad song in the bunch, and I would have gladly paid twice what I did. Why this band hasn’t gained commercial success is obvious, they are too sophisticated for modern pop music. From the thickness of the grooves to the lyrical insanity, Clutch has once again proven that they are the best band in the last 20 years.
Hope that was helpfull,
It’s a long-standing tradition for rockers to turn to the blues as they get older and wiser. The maturing Clutch, masters of twisted and subversive heavy rock, have embraced the blues as the next step in their creative development. This release consolidates the new sounds developed on the last Clutch album, and these rocker dudes, who have done mind-boggling things with every style from hardcore to metal to funk, have fully incorporated rowdy blues rock into their singular musical vision. Songs like “The Devil & Me,” “Electric Worry,” and “Black Umbrella” (which even includes a harmonica solo) are clearly descended from traditional blues, with Clutch sounding like an especially anarchic Savoy Brown. And since Clutch will always rumble headlong into new musical territories, this album features several progressions, like the spooky “White’s Ferry” and the slowly rumbling “Opossum Minister.” But rest assured that we’re still in gearheadland, thanks to the classic pummeling Clutch crunch of “Power Player” and “Mr. Shiny Cadillackness,” which are crucial links to the band’s heavy past.
While the fellas may be mellowing out a little bit, their playing is still top-notch, as heard in Jean-Paul Gaster’s piledriving (and surprisingly nimble) drumming and Dan Maines’ dexterous rumbling basslines, while Tim Sult has seamlessly converted his traditional vertiginous stoner-metal riffage into this album’s bluesy chord progressions. Here we are also witnessing the great benefit of the addition of keyboardist Mick Schauer (now on his second full album with the band), who successfully adds slightly arcane and off-kilter Memphis licks to the existing Clutch attack. And regardless of the ever-changing influences that Clutch bring to their sound with each album, the band will always remain unmistakable thanks to the unique vision of Neil Fallon, whose vehement vocals and shrewdly subversive lyrics remain the band’s calling cards. This time around, Neil seems to be zeroing in lyrically on the pathetically simplistic ideals of an under-informed American society, as seen in tracks like “You Can’t Stop Progress” and “When Vegans Attack,” which both skewer know-it-all protestors who don’t understand what they’re protesting (that’s my educated guess on the always inscrutable Neil, as it were). Clutch are maturing impressively, and while they’re not yet your serious dads, they’re at least your eccentric rockin’ uncles. [~doomsdayer520~]
This is an interesting album, even for Clutch. While it lacks the lyrical and thematic edge of Robot Hive Exodus, it makes up for in pure southern rock foot stomping goodness. This album makes it harder to stay in your seat than any of their previous offerings. The earlier tracks such as “Can’t Stop Progress” and “Power Player” hearken back to Clutch’s heavier roots, while “The Devil & Me” and “Electric Worry” take them even farther into their new southern sound. “Electric Worry” is an instant classic and easily one of the band’s best songs to date. The latter tracks dive back into Fallon’s trademark lyrical style (“When Vegans Attack” and “Black Umbrella” are particularly entertaining) and sound more like a solid Clutch live set than any of their previous studio efforts. Their blues influence is more noticeable on this album and smoothly integrated into their sound, especially with Mick’s organ work and Fallon’s harmonica. Clutch’s gearhead fans from their early days who have been displeased with the southern direction of their sound will probably not like this album – it’s clear the ‘rock fury’ days are past. Fans of Clutch’s newer direction will love it, as will anyone who enjoys their live shows. This is a great album.